Question: How Should an Offended or an Offender Respond?
Answer: What does God Say?
When I was younger, my mother would insist that I apologize to my sister when I wronged her, and she had to respond by extending forgiveness. It did not matter if we were sincere, it just had to be said, and the matter would be settled. My mother was not concerned about justice, her objective was to ensure her daughters did not fight. Later, when I became a mother, I recognized that my sons were doing the same thing, they were apologizing (perpetrator) and/or forgiving (victim) without meaning it.
Several weeks ago, while attending the Oscars, Will Smith was offended by Chris Rock’s comments about Jada, his wife. Even though we have all seen and heard many opinions on this matter, it is God’s opinion which matters. Regardless of the passage of time (😉), He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Below is a list of scripture specifically written to Christians that will give direction on how we should respond when we find ourselves in either Will or Chris’s shoes.
Proverbs 19:11 – “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense”.
Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 – “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others”.
Matthew 18:15- “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother".
Psalm 38:18 – “For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin”.
Matthew 5:23-24 – “Therefore, if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering”.
1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
When we look at this event through Biblical eyes, we see how a sincere apology with a repented heart will lead to true forgiveness and begin the healing process towards a Restored Relationship. As you may have noticed, I did not clarify who was the Offended and who was the Offender. We have all found ourselves at each end of this spectrum. Therefore, we ought to strive to live in harmony. (Ephesians 4:2-3 “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”).
Bear in mind this portion of Lord’s Prayer: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Mathew 6:14) because without it, there are no winners!
*References: 11 Bible verses about Apologizing (knowing-jesus.com) , What Does the Bible Say About Offense? (openbible.info)